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Asos calls for the 2015 Modern Slavery Act to be strengthened

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Apr. 28, 2021

Business

courtesy of Asos

Asos has called for the implementation of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in the UK to strengthen the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.

Such legislation, currently being developed by the European Commission for the EU, would if, introduced in the UK ensure that companies take steps to prevent and mitigate risks and protect vulnerable people within supply chains in line with their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles. This would require businesses to disclose these actions and be held to account for taking them.

The online fashion retailer explains in its fifth Modern Slavery Statement that it has been working with Anti-Slavery International (ASI) since 2017, calling the organisation a “critical friend” to ensure that the broader fashion industry increases efforts to ensure protection for those most vulnerable.

Asos chief executive Nick Beighton, said in a statement: “We’re proud to have today published our fifth Modern Slavery Statement and to have continued our commitment to transparency, honesty and openness in our reporting. There is absolutely no place for modern slavery in today’s world, and after an incredibly challenging year for the fashion industry and for garment workers worldwide, all companies and brands must now share the risks they have identified and the actions they have taken to ensure we can work together to deliver effective change.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Anti-Slavery International for providing commentary and constructive challenge for this year’s statement and look forward to continuing our partnership as we seek to drive further change over the years to come.”

In its Modern Slavery Statement, Asos calls on all brands and retailers to address modern slavery risks throughout global supply chains and adds that it is supporting this legislation to drive up standards.

Anti-Slavery International chief executive Jasmine O’Connor, added: “We’re proud to be working with Asos to encourage the company to make sure its customers can be sure their clothes aren’t tainted by human rights abuses. We welcome Asos’ call for a new UK law to hold companies to account when they fail to prevent human rights abuses.

“We hope other UK companies across all sectors follow Asos’ leadership, and that the UK Government responds to the growing calls from civil society, trade unions and business to go beyond the Modern Slavery Act and introduce stronger laws.”